County students take honors at FFA convention

ADDISON COUNTY — The Middlebury FFA chapter is located at and comprised of students enrolled in agriculture courses here at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center, which draws students from the 17 towns in the Addison Central, Addison Northwest and Addison Northeast supervisory unions.
Each year the Hannaford students compete in a variety of FFA career development events, known as CDEs. From livestock judging, forestry products/management and dairy production to knowledge of parliamentary procedures and farm business management, these events provide a venue in which FFA members demonstrate their ability to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. The competitions are staged at the state level and winners are eligible to represent Vermont at the events held at the FFA National Convention.
This year the Middlebury FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Team — consisting of April Rheaume, Justina Baker, Jordan Hubbell and Kristen Gosselin — took top honors in Vermont. They were one of 41 teams participating in the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management CDE. This is a very competitive event that tests the students’ ability to select and manage quality dairy cattle. Event components include six classes of dairy cattle, herd record evaluation and dairy management team activity.
The event was held in at the 86th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., this past October. The team, led by adviser Janice Bosworth, was awarded a Silver emblem.
Members also competed for individual awards with 160 other participants. Justina Baker received a Bronze emblem, Kristen Gosselin received a Gold emblem, Jordan Hubbell received a Gold emblem, and April Rheaume received a Bronze emblem.
Members of the team and their adviser said they were grateful to several individuals who spent personal time coaching them along the way. Tom Hickley of Phoenix Feeds provided his expertise in dairy cattle feeds and nutrition, veterinarian Joe Klopfenstein offered guidance in herd health and production records, and Robin Severy worked through DHIA records with the FFA team. The FFAer made special note of the help they received from Harold Deering, who gave countless hours of assistance to the team as they practiced evaluating dairy cattle and formulated oral reasons.
“We could not have gone into this competition as solid as we did without you all,” Bosworth said.
Middlebury FFA members pay for their competition costs with the monies that the chapter raises through citrus sales, greenhouse sales and the FFA Dairy Bar and Food Booth, which the students run at the Addison County Fair and Field Days. Bosworth noted that it really was people from throughout the county who helped the team get to the national competition.
“Through your patronage you are helping to supply students with opportunities through the FFA,” she said. “Thank you.”

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